A Traditional Yuletide with Festive Feasts, Lights & Carols

A Traditional Yuletide with Festive Feasts, Lights & Carols

New for 2025

Themes

  • Historical

  • Political

  • Royal Connections

Associations

  • NTHP
  • The Royal Oak Foundation

A Traditional Yuletide with Festive Feasts, Lights & Carols

New for 2025

Prices From $5,450p/p

Combining the captivating blend of Kent's natural beauty with the festive magic of Christmas, we embark on an enchanting yuletide journey through historic treasures, including wonderful castles and grand stately homes, all culminating with a thrilling evening singing along to carols at the Royal Albert Hall. As we journey from the capital to Kent, we celebrate the spirit of Christmas past and catch a glimpse of festivities of times gone by in a range of beautifully dressed properties, from Hever Castle and Winston Churchill’s beloved Chartwell to Bateman’s, where we warm up by the crackling fire amidst its Edwardian interiors and sparkling decorations.

Special extras included in your itinerary
• Guided tour of Canterbury Cathedral
• Afternoon tea at Cathedral Lodge
• After-dinner talk at the hotel by a guest speaker
• Behind-the-scenes guided tour at Penshurst Place
• Festive lunch at Hever Castle
• Ticket to Christmas Carols at the Royal Albert Hall

*Please inform us at the time of booking of any special dietary requirements.

Day 1
Monday: Arrival

On arrival at Heathrow Airport a private transfer will take you to the Windsor Castle Hotel for our overnight stay. In the evening we enjoy a welcome drink and canapés hosted by our tour manager, followed by dinner.

Meals: Dinner

Day 2
Tuesday: Windsor Castle & Kew Gardens

We start our day with a visit to Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world and the final resting place of Elizabeth II. Established in the 11th century by William the Conqueror, it has been remodeled by successive kings and queens and is regularly used for ceremonial and state occasions. The magnificent State Apartments are furnished with some of the finest works of art to admire, and are beautifully decorated at this time of year. We find out more about the castle’s history on our audio-guided tour.

Later, a festive treat awaits us at the world-famous Kew Gardens, where the iconic architecture and tree canopies are brought to life, enriched with Christmas color and sparkling with seasonal decorations. Discover an enchanting festive trail of lights that winds its way through the botanic gardens, before enjoying some tasty treats from one of the many enticing stalls.

From here, we travel to the Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club, where we stay for the next five nights.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3
Wednesday: Chartwell House & Ightham Mote

Today we first visit Chartwell, Sir Winston Churchill’s beloved home from 1924 to the time of his death. The house is still home to many of the great statesman’s personal and political mementos, including an amazing collection of gifts he received from other world leaders. Amongst these notable possessions are magical touches of the season, such as themed trees and gorgeous garlands transforming the historic house into a cosy Christmas spectacle.

We take our leave of the historic country house and head to our second National Trust property of the day, a medieval moated manor house, once described by historian David Starkey as 'the most beautiful and the most interesting of English country houses'. Called Ightham Mote, the name is derived from the Saxon name, Ehta, and ‘mote’ reflects the residence’s location being surrounded by an actual fairytale moat. Built nearly 700 years ago, atmospheric Ightham has been home to medieval knights, courtiers to Henry VIII and Victorian High Society. Inside we are treated to a Tudor Christmas scene with music, lights and seasonal scents, all inspired by the history of the property.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4
Thursday: Canterbury Cathedral & Canterbury Cathedral Lodge

We spend the day in historical Canterbury, where we start with a private guided tour of Canterbury Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in England, dating back to Norman times. The cathedral is a wonder of awe-inspiring architecture, featuring a sweeping Gothic nave and cavernous crypt. In 1170, Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in the cathedral and ever since, it has been a site of Christian pilgrimage. The cathedral contains one of England’s largest collections of early medieval stained glass and it has recently been discovered that these windows may date as far back as the mid-1100s, making them some of the oldest examples in the world. With Christmas trees and a life-size nativity scene, the cathedral offers a magical atmosphere during the festive season.

Next, we visit Cathedral Lodge, a unique hotel set within the grounds of Canterbury Cathedral, where we enjoy a delicious afternoon tea and an insightful talk about the great Charles Dickens from a guest speaker. There is no better Christmastime setting than in the lodge, sitting by an open fire, listening to tales of A Christmas Carol and other Dickens classics.

Meals: Breakfast, Afternoon Tea

Day 5
Friday: Penshurst Place & Hever Castle

We spend the morning at Penshurst Palace, a medieval manor house surrounded by stunning formal walled gardens and ancient parkland. Previously used as a hunting lodge by Henry VIII, it has been owned by the Sidney family since 1552 and is still a much-loved family home. We enjoy a behind-the-scenes guided tour of the house which still displays many of its original medieval and Tudor features, a magnificent Great Hall and State Rooms, beautifully decorated for the Christmas season.

In the afternoon we head to Hever Castle, the childhood home of Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, where we enjoy lunch. Dating back to the late 13th century, this double-moated castle is home to various historic artifacts including Tudor portraits and furniture, as well as two prayer books inscribed by Anne Boleyn. The castle was lavishly restored by American millionaire, William Waldorf Astor, in the early 20th century. Take the time to admire the castle’s interior, beautifully decorated for the festive season with fairy lights, welcoming log fires and twinkling Christmas trees.

Later, in the evening, we enjoy an after-dinner talk by a guest speaker at the hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6
Saturday: Bodiam Castle & Bateman’s

This morning we visit Bodiam Castle, one of Britain’s most picturesque and romantic ancient fortifications. This archetypal 14th-century moated castle with a ruined interior gives us a glimpse of medieval splendour and boasts an original wooden portcullis, spiral staircases, tower rooms and battlements. As we take in the enchanting decorations, just imagine medieval revellers enjoying a cup of Wassail, a festive delight made of mulled ale, curdled cream, roasted apples, eggs and spices.

Afterward we head to Bateman’s, a 17th-century house which so enchanted Rudyard Kipling when he discovered it, that he made it his home in 1902. With its stone-mullioned windows and Sussex oak beams, it’s a lovely retreat that has been left virtually untouched since Kipling’s tenure here. During our visit, the ground floor is decorated for a Kipling family Christmas with a roaring fire, a traditionally decorated tree and a table set for dinner, all adding to the warming, festive feel of an Edwardian home at Christmas.

We complete our day with a journey on the Kent & Sussex Steam Train, the perfect way to relax and unwind in a first-class carriage, watching the scenic Kent countryside pass by to the sounds of Christmas carols in the background.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 7
Sunday: Leeds Castle & Royal Albert Hall

After breakfast, we check out of the Ashdown Park Hotel and make our way to the magnificent Leeds Castle, a quintessential moated castle set in 500 acres of glorious parkland. Dating back to the 12th century, it has been a Norman stronghold, the royal residence of six medieval queens and was once home to Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Latterly, it became an elegant early 20th-century retreat for the influential and the famous. Our visit gives us a chance to explore the castle’s impressive state rooms which are lavishly decorated for Christmas.

Later, we enjoy a highlight of our tour, Christmas Carols at the Royal Albert Hall. This iconic venue hosts some of Britain’s most famous concerts including BBC Proms and the Royal Variety Performance. A trip to the world-famous venue is always a magical experience, but there is something extra special about this annual Christmas concert, offering the perfect chance to sing along to much-loved carols and enjoy a truly unique shared festive experience.

After the performance, we drive back to the hotel via Oxford and Regent Street to see the famous London Christmas lights. At the Windsor Castle Hotel, we toast the festive season with a farewell dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8
Monday: Departure

A private transfer will take you back to Heathrow Airport for your return flight home.

Meals: Breakfast

Please note: the order of excursions is subject to change and guided tours are subject to restrictions.

What’s Included
• Return airport transfers from London Heathrow*
• 2 nights at the Castle Windsor Hotel
• 5 nights at the Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club
• Welcome drink & canapés
• Full English/Continental breakfast each day
• 3-course table d’hôte dinner on 6 nights at the hotels (with after-dinner wine)
• Services of a tour director throughout your stay
• Travel to & from all excursions
• All excursion costs
• Porterage where available

*Supplement applies for transfers from all other airports and all other locations, including central London.

Special extras included in your itinerary
• Guided tour of Canterbury Cathedral
• Afternoon tea at Cathedral Lodge
• After-dinner talk at the hotel by a guest speaker
• Behind-the-scenes guided tour at Penshurst Place
• Festive lunch at Hever Castle
• Ticket to Christmas Carols at the Royal Albert Hall

*Please inform us at the time of booking of any special dietary requirements.

Nights One & Seven – Windsor Castle Hotel
The Castle Hotel is the most historic hotel in the town of Windsor and has been delighting guests for centuries, particularly thanks to its wonderful views of the daily Changing of the Guard procession. The en-suite bedrooms blend historic features with modern amenities, while there is also a classic restaurant to enjoy.

Nights Two to Six – Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club in Forest Row, East Grinstead
The Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club is a quintessential English retreat nestled in the heart of the Ashdown Forest, an enchanting woodland that inspired A. A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh stories. This luxurious hotel and country club offers a harmonious blend of elegance and tranquility, set against the backdrop of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The hotel boasts luxury accommodation, fine dining, and an array of leisure facilities including a spa, golf course, and extensive gardens and woodlands waiting to be explored.